Australia’s Worley Parsons submitted the lowest bid for the masterplan and design contract for the second phase of Qatar’s Hamad Port.

Qatar’s Transport Ministry announced last month that it had awarded the package without specifying the selected consultancy firm.

However, sources familiar with the transaction, tell MEED on 5 July that the final contract has yet to be awarded.

The recent blockade imposed on Qatar by the Saudi-led states could push Qatar to expedite plans to expand the port’s capacity.

Proposals for the contract to deepen the access channel serving the port from 16 metres to 18 metres so that it is the same depth as the port basin are under evaluation.

Six firms are understood to have submitted a proposal for the dredging work in December 2016.

Deepening the access channel would allow the port to accommodate larger vessels that will call on the port.

Prior to the blockade, a significant portion of cargo destined for Qatar are offloaded in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port and transported by road to Qatar or shipped by smaller vessels to Hamad Port.

A number of shipping firms, including Denmark’s Maersk Line, have recently opened a direct line between Salalah Port and Hamad Port.

The $7.4bn first phase of Hamad Port opened on 1 December 2016. It has a capacity of 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year, in addition to 2 million tonnes of general cargo.

The original masterplan entails a five-phased development, with the final phase expected to be completed in 2025.